When the DDR4 memory hit the market recently, one of the RAM manufactures that doesn’t stop impressing us would be G.Skill. They kicked off the DDR4 party by breaking the memory speed record at an astonishing frequency of 4004MHz. A while later they released the world’s fastest DDR4 memory kit at an aggressive frequency of 3333MHz running off a voltage of 1.35V only.
The Ripjaws4 DDR4 series of memory modules are designed to take full advantage of Quad Channel mode out of Intel’s latest X99 chipset and Haswell-E processors. It is available in various frequencies and capacities, ranging from 16GB to 64GB, as well as from 2133MHz to 3333MHz. Moreover you will have three colours of heatspreaders to choose from, which are red, blue and black colours.
Recently, G.Skill decided to send us their Ripjaws4 DDR4 2666MHz C15 16GB (F4-2666C15Q-16GRR) memory kit for a spin in our test lab. The G.Skill Ripjaws4 DDR4 2666MHz C15 16GB memory kit ships in four sticks of 4GB modules which comes with red heatspreaders. These modules are specified to run at a frequency of DDR4 2666MHz and timings of 15-15-15-35 in Quad Channel configuration at a voltage of 1.2V.
The G.Skill Ripjaws4 would be the second DDR4 memory kit to be reviewed by OCDrift after the Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4 2800MHz C16 16GB review that has been published here not long ago. Retailing in the local market at RM 999, let’s check out how G.Skill Ripjaws4 DDR4 2666MHz C15 fares against the insanely priced Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4 2800MHz C16 16GB (RM 1,999).
Product Link: http://www.gskill.com/en/product/f4-2666c15q-16grr
Suggested Retail Price: RM 999
The G.Skill Ripjaws4 DDR4 2666MHz C15 16GB memory modules came well packaged in a transparent plastic blister pack, exposing the memory modules with black and blue coloured background. There are two modules displayed on the front side alongside the G.Skill case badge while the other two modules are placed on the rear side of the packaging. The G.Skill logo and product name of Ripjaws4 are illustrated nicely across the top of the packaging.
So, these are the other two modules that we’ve mentioned just now which is located on the back of the retail packaging. On top left of the packaging we have a label showcasing the bar code and part number (F4-2666C15Q-16GRR) of the memory kit as well as its capacity, speed, timings, and voltage. Next, G.Skill describe some introductory information about the Ripjaws4 DDR4 as well as emphasize that all of their memory products including this kit are backed by lifetime warranty. Below the description you can find the address and contact numbers of G.Skill as well as the country of origin (Made in Taiwan).
Let’s take a closer look at the front side of the module. As compared to previous generations of Ripjaws series, G.Skill decided to beef up the Ripjaws4 DDR4 2666MHz C15 16GB memory module with an improved aluminum heatspreader to dissipate the heat efficiently. The front side of the heatspreader is very simple in which it comes in red colour and there’s a sticker on the middle showcases the product name of G.Skill Ripjaws4. The PCB comes in matte black colour which looks very nice especially when compared to green coloured PCB that you might find on some low-profile memory kits in the market.
Flipping over to the other side of the memory module you will find a label indicating the part number (F4-2666C15Q-16GRR) of the memory kit, as well as its operating frequency (2666MHz), timings (15-15-15-35), voltage (1.2V), bar code, serial number, supports for XMP 2.0 and the G.Skill-labeled hologram showing the month and year of manufacturing. The G.Skill also remind users that the warranty will be voided if the sticker is removed so make sure that you have the sticker intact just in case if you’re sending the memory kit for RMA. G.Skill’s serial numbering system are pretty straightforward. The first four digits indicate the year and week, followed by the four digits which stand for different ICs and manufacturers. The memory kit that we received comes with a serial number of 1437340023945503. The first four digits (1437) denotes the year of 2014 and the 37th week. The next four digits (3400) are related to Hynix IC chips. Of course you can always check this through AIDA64 Extreme application if you want. However, from here we can’t confirm the specific type of Hynix chips being used whether it is the BFR, CFR or the MFR. We will look into this later once we pry open the heatspreader to inspect the ICs.
One of the main changes that has been made from DDR3 and DDR4 memory is that the latter is made out of a total 288 pin of connectors versus 240 pins on the DDR3. In addition, the DDR4 also appears to have golden fingers that come in a slightly convex shape on the middle as you can see from the picture above.
Each memory module is consisted of two heatspreaders which are held in contact with the memory chips by the adhesive pads, respectively. The procedure of removing the heatspreaders is quite simple, we used the hair dryer method and pried open the heatspreader.
Dismantling the heatspreader reveals the memory IC chips. Here we can see that the G.Skill Ripjaws4 DDR4 2666MHz C15 16GB memory module comes in a single-sided PCB. There are eight DDR4 chips reside on one side of the PCB while the other side doesn’t contain any memory IC. It appears that G.Skill has decided to remove the original Hynix’s label and relabeled it as D4512M8GE15 and 1341 H3313N. The serial number of D4512M8GE15 indicated that the IC is DDR4 type (D4) and comes in 512MB per chip (512). As mentioned earlier there are eight ICs soldered on each module to make up a total capacity of 4096MB (8x 512MB) per stick. Then we have the serial number of H3313N which we strongly believe that it is related to the Hynix-MFR chip. As a comparison, the Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4 2800MHz C16 16GB memory kit that we’ve reviewed previously comes with Hynix-MFR chips which are labeled as H5AN4G8NMFR.
- Extreme performance DDR4 memory designed for gaming and PC enthusiasts
- Optimized compatibility with Intel X99 system
- Stylish aluminum heat spreader design to keep the memory coo
- 1.2V ultra low voltage
- • Intel XMP 2.0 Support
Test Setup & Testing Methodology
Before we proceed to the benchmark results, let’s take a look at our test setup. We used our favourite X99-based ASUS Rampage V Extreme motherboard due to its high RAM compatibility and decent memory overclocking potential. The processor we used is in the form of eight-core Intel Core i7-5960X “Haswell-E” CPU which is capable of handling multithreaded applications. To keep temperature as low as possible we used custom watercooling kit to take care of the heat during overclocking. As for graphics engine, we chose ASUS ROG Matrix R9-290X Platinum graphics card to take the 3D benchmarks.
G.Skill include one working XMP profile into their Ripjaws4 DDR4 2666MHz C15 16GB memory kit which specifies the modules to operate at 2666MHz 15-15-15-35-2T with a voltage of 1.2V. The memory kit was tested by simply enabling the Extreme Memory Profile (XMP) in the UEFI BIOS after clearing the CMOS. Maximus Tweak selected was Mode 2 to help overclocking and performance. By selecting the XMP mode, we can see that the BCLK will be automatically switched to 125MHz. We then input 36.0 and 32.0 to the core and cache (uncore) ratio respectively in order to overclock our Core i7-5960X processor to a core frequency of 4.5GHz (125MHz X 36.0) and a cache frequency of 4.0GHz (125Hz X 32.0).
Screenshots of the BIOS settings that we’ve done for the 2666MHz 15-15-15-35-2T (XMP) are shown as follows:
To simulate the range of DDR4 memory modules available on the market we’ve also tested the Ripjaws4 DDR4 2666MHz C15 16GB memory kit in various frequencies. These include 2133MHz 15-15-15-35-2T, 2400MHz 15-15-15-35-2T, 2666MHz 15-15-15-35-2T (XMP), and 3000MHz 15-15-15-35-2T (OC). To summarize everything up, these are the BIOS settings for the memory frequencies that we’ve tested.
The G.Skill Ripjaws4 is not alone in our test lab as we also have another DDR4 kit of Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4 CMD16GX4M4A2800C16 for comparison purpose which is specified to operate at 2800MHz 16-18-18-36-2T (XMP1). To get this Corsair kit running at the specifications we had to overclock our Core i7-5960X processor to 4.58GHz due to the nature of the Haswell-E architecture which requires BCLK of 125MHz or higher to push the memory frequency over 2666MHz. At the same time the cache (uncore) frequency was set to 4.07GHz. Hence take note that most of the synthetic benchmarks would likely be affected by this extra 0.08GHz core frequency and 0.07GHz uncore advantages.
Synthetic benchmarks are artificial programs that are constructed to try to match the characteristics of a large set of programs. The goal is to create a single benchmark program where the execution frequency of statements in the benchmark matches the statement frequency in a large set of benchmarks. When it comes to memory benchmark, generally the higher the memory frequency and the tighter the timing the better the synthetic performance of the memory kit. The G.Skill Ripjaws4 DDR4 2666MHz C15 16GB memory kit performed within expectation in in all of the benchmarks that we’ve conducted. In some tests the faster frequency yielded better scores. However in some tests the faster clock was lacking behind lower frequency maybe due to the loosen tertiary timings which hurt the performance of higher frequency. Meanwhile, it must be mentioned again that for the Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4 CMD16GX4M4A2800C16 memory kit, the CPU frequency was set to 4.58MHz instead of 4.5GHz.
The game titles selected demand GPU power more than the CPU power therefore in each test the difference is rather marginal. The G.Skill Ripjaws4 DDR4 2666MHz C15 16GB memory kit did well in our game benchmarks regardless of any memory frequency that we’ve set. We didn’t notice any significant difference in terms of frame rate between lower and higher frequencies.
Our memory review will not complete without overclocking. Like previous generations of Ripjaws series of memory modules, G.Skill designed the Ripjaws4 DDR4 2666MHz C15 16GB memory kit with overclocking in mind. They used highly selected memory ICs which have been tested for high level of reliability and stability even under overclocking. To keep the temperature as low as possible, G.Skill decided to equip the Ripjaws4 with enhanced heatspreader for better cooling effect. The lower the operating temperature the higher the overclocking headroom it can achieve.
It appears that the memory chips used by G.Skill for this memory kit are made out of Hynix-MFR ICs which are famed for their decent overclocking potential. It did show that G.Skill are well prepared in the race for MHz war together with other DDR4 memory manufacturers like Corsair and Avexir. Now let’s proceed to our memory overclocking results.
First and foremost, we would like to find a higher memory frequency which is stable for 24/7 operation. The end result was 3000MHz @ 15-15-15-35-2T at a voltage of 1.35V. To confirm its stability we’ve run the AIDA64 Stability Test for around 15 minutes. In this test we didn’t get any error therefore we can conclude that this overclock is fine for daily use. Screenshots of the BIOS settings that we’ve used for the 3000MHz 15-15-15-35-2T overclocking can be seen as follows:
The rest of the overclocking results in the form of Super Pi 32M benchmark are showed below.
DDR4 2800MHz 12-13-15-15-2T – voltage 1.5V:
DDR4 3000MHz 12-14-16-15-1T – voltage 1.65V:
DDR4 3200MHz 17-25-29-50-2T – voltage 1.3V:
We concluded our overclocking adventure by running eight sticks of 4GB memory modules which comprise of the G.Skill Ripjaws4 DDR4 2666MHz C15 4x4GB kit and the Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4 2800MHz C16 4x4GB kit to form a total of 32GB in capacity. We were able to push the 32GB modules to an aggressive clock of 3000MHz at timings of 13-15-21-21-2T.
G.Skill Ripjaws4 DDR4 2666MHz C15 4x4GB + Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4 2800MHz C16 4x4GB @ 3000MHz 13-15-21-21-2T 8x4GB (32GB):
Thoughts & Verdicts
With the all-new Ripjaws4 series of memory modules, G.Skill definitely want to continue the tradition of the award-winning Ripjaws series to become one of the world’s best high performance memory kits now in the flavour of DDR4 architecture.
Starting with build quality and aesthetics the G.Skill Ripjaws4 DDR4 2666MHz C15 16GB kit looks great. The memory kit is equipped with nice looking red coloured heatspreaders which strongly match our ASUS Rampage V Extreme motherboard and ASUS ROG Matrix R9-290X Platinum graphics card. G.Skill has redesigned the heatspreader with a better cooling solution to dissipate the heat more efficiently to achieve even higher overclocking headroom.
On the performance aspect, G.Skill’s Ripjaws4 DDR4 2666MHz C15 16GB memory kit performed very well within expectation in all the tests that we’ve conducted. On synthetic standpoints you would see some performance differences between the higher and lower frequencies but certainly not in real world. In gaming environment for instance, the difference is negligible regardless of how high the memory frequency is set.
The memory kit is compatible with the latest Intel X99 chipset supporting Intel Extreme Memory Profile aka XMP 2.0. G.Skill has decided to employ the Hynix-MFR memory ICs to ensure decent overclocking potential and eventually boost the performance to the next level. During our overclocking process, we achieved an aggressive overclock frequency of 3200MHz and timings of 17-25-29-50-2T. This overclock is considered remarkable for such a memory kit that is originally rated at 2666MHz.
The G.Skill’s Ripjaws4 DDR4 2666MHz C15 16GB memory kit is available on the Malaysian market at a price tag of RM 999, which is very competitive as compared to its counterpart from Corsair. The Corsair Dominator Platinum DDR4 2666MHz C15 16GB kit is retailing at RM 1,799, which is massively RM 800 more than the Ripjaws4 kit. At such a reasonable price and very good build quality, the G.Skill Ripjaws4 DDR4 2666MHz C15 16GB memory kit is no doubt the best for the money.
Performance/Price Value: 5/5
+ Impressive stock performance
+ Lightning-fast DDR4 bandwidth
+ Excellent overclocking performance
+ Good aesthetic
+ Highly binned best-of-the-best memory ICs used
+ Unique design of heatspreaders
+ Lifetime warranty
+ Competitive pricing
- Not plug-and-play
- High latency
- Red coloured heatspreaders might not suit your rig’s theme
- Should come out with more choices of heatspreader’s colours
G.Skill Ripjaws4 DDR4 2666MHz C15 16GB Memory Kit received Gold Award from OCDrift.com
Disclaimer: OCDrift.com gives out our own award based on the Hardware Performance, OverClocking Ability, Innovation, and Value as determined by the reviewer
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